FORMER Assests Recovery Agency Director Alan McQuillan has suggested a new superforce for Northern Ireland rejected by nationalists and republicans can be tailored to ensure it can’t tell the PSNI what to do by issuing ‘compulsion orders’ through the Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB), for example.
Mr McQuillan expressed concern about the rejection by Sinn Féin and the SDLP of the new National Crime Agency (NCA), whose task it is to tackle organised crime, strengthen borders, fight fraud and protect children.
He said concerns about accountability could be “sorted out.”
“If they feel a concern is genuine then it’s a genuine concern, but those are the sorts of things that can be fixed very easily.
“The accountability mechanisms for NCA aren’t that far away from those for the PSNI, so I’m sure an accommodation can be reached that satisfies people,” said Mr McQuillan.
The SDLP’s concerns have been articulated in the past on the floor of Westminster by Londonderry MP Mark Durkan.
During a debate, on the Crime and Courts Bill which was later enacted in Westminster to establish the NCA, and abolish the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), Mr Durkan outlined several of the party’s “genuine concerns.”
He expressed concern the NCA’s extension here would lead to the appointment of special constables in Northern Ireland for the first time since the B Specials.
He also expressed concern that NCA will operate as another force alongside the PSNI and that officers will be able to hold positions in both.
He warned that the NCA will effectively be able to tell he PSNI what to do by issuing ‘compulsion orders’ through the Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB).
He also raised the issue of accountability and said he did not wish to see a situation where - like national security policing in NI under MI5 - the activities of the NCA are put beyond the scope of the Policing Board.
Last year outlining the proposals for the new force, Secretary of State Theresa Villiers promised Chief Constable Matt Baggott would still be call the policing shots if it was introduced here.
She said the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) was working with the Home Office and Northern Ireland Department of Justice to ensure that the principles of the Belfast Agreement and other agreements were reflected in the Crime and Courts Bill - now law in the rest of the United Kingdom.
She also said the new 4,000 strong force would be driven by an ‘intelligence hub.’
The new force will also be driven by an “intelligence hub.”
The Minister stated: “The NCA will be an agency of operational crime fighters, comprising four commands (Organised Crime, Border Policing, Economic Crime and Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP)) and a National Cyber Crime Unit.
“It will be driven by an ‘intelligence hub’ and an effective set of tasking and co-ordination arrangements.
“Subject to the passage of legislation, the NCA will be established by the end of 2013. As set out in the NCA plan, the intention is that the NCA will be UK-wide, in recognition of the reach and threat of serious and organised crime, and it will respect devolution of policing in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“The majority of the NCA’s work force, which will number approximately 4,000, will be made up of staff from existing precursor bodies, for example: the Serious Organised Crime Agency including CEOP; and transferred capabilities from the National Police Improvement Agency and the Metropolitan Police Central e-Crime Unit.”